2004's Carbon Glacier, the debut album from Seattle singer/songwriter Laura Veirs, drew critical praise from 'adult' music titles and broadsheet press alike.
The Triumphs And Travails Of Orphan Mae collects together songs originally written in 2001. The sparse production is apt given Veirs grew up in the shadow of the Colorado Rocky Mountains or, as 'Orphan Mae' puts it, "Somewhere in the desert, near a mountain is the place of my birth".
Banjo, acoustic, and steel guitar dominate but this isn‘t a country and western album. Triumphs... flits between blues and folk. Dance beats underpin 'John Henry Lives', and there's a trip-hop vibe on 'Montague Road' which lends it a ghostly atmosphere. This feeling permeates throughout; 'Black Eyed Susan' could very well be a ghost story and 'Through December' sounds as chilling as the oncoming winter it namechecks.
Yet, there is real warmth to Triumphs.... Veirs' vocals sound crystal clear but have real depth and her storytelling style paints vivid pictures of myths and fables from the American west. It's a storybook in song form and a thoroughly absorbing one at that.
8Anthony Gibbons's Score